Smoked Chubs Wisconsin: A Delicacy from the Great Lakes

Wisconsin is known for its cheese, bratwurst, and beer, but it’s also home to a lesser-known delicacy: smoked chubs. These small, oily fish are found in the Great Lakes and have been a staple of Wisconsin’s fishing industry for decades. Smoked chubs are a unique and flavorful treat that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. In this article, we’ll explore the history of smoked chubs in Wisconsin, how they’re prepared, and why they’re worth trying.

The History of Smoked Chubs in Wisconsin

Smoked chubs have been a part of Wisconsin’s fishing industry since the early 1900s. They were originally caught by commercial fishermen who used gill nets to harvest them from the Great Lakes. The fish were then smoked and sold locally or shipped to other parts of the country. In the 1920s and 1930s, smoked chubs became a popular snack food in Wisconsin taverns and bars. They were often served with crackers and cheese and washed down with a cold beer.

Today, smoked chubs are still caught by commercial fishermen in the Great Lakes, but they’re also harvested by recreational anglers. Many small towns along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior have annual smoked chub festivals that celebrate this local delicacy.

How Smoked Chubs are Prepared

Smoked chubs are typically prepared using a traditional smoking method that involves brining the fish in a saltwater solution before smoking them over hardwood chips. The smoking process can take several hours and gives the fish a distinctive smoky flavor. The skin of the fish becomes crispy, while the flesh remains moist and tender.

Smoked chubs can be eaten whole, bones and all, or the meat can be removed from the bones and used in recipes. They’re often served as an appetizer or snack and can be enjoyed with crackers, cheese, and a cold beer. Some people also use smoked chubs in salads or as a topping for pizza.

The Health Benefits of Smoked Chubs

Smoked chubs are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health. They’re also low in calories and fat, making them a healthy snack option. However, because they’re high in sodium, people who are watching their salt intake should consume smoked chubs in moderation.

Where to Find Smoked Chubs in Wisconsin

Smoked chubs can be found at many local fish markets and specialty food stores throughout Wisconsin. They’re also available online from a variety of retailers. If you’re visiting Wisconsin, be sure to check out one of the many smoked chub festivals that take place throughout the summer months. These festivals offer a chance to sample smoked chubs and other local delicacies while enjoying live music and other entertainment.


Smoked chubs may not be as well-known as some of Wisconsin’s other culinary delights, but they’re definitely worth trying. These small, oily fish have a unique flavor that’s enhanced by the smoking process. Whether you’re enjoying them as a snack or using them in a recipe, smoked chubs are a healthy and delicious treat that’s sure to please. So the next time you’re in Wisconsin, be sure to seek out some smoked chubs and experience this local delicacy for yourself.